My media training participants almost always ask me about the changes within local TV news here in Phoenix. Usually, they want to know why someone they watch is no longer on the air, or why so many new reporters look so young (News Flash-they are). It is nearly impossible to keep up, where size-wise we rank number 12 for television markets nationwide.
In case you haven’t heard, here are just some of the recent changes:
Fay Fredericks with KPNX has left and gone to KNXV.
Lin Sue Cooney also left KPNX. Vanessa Ruiz is now in that role.
Yetta Gibson left KNXV to go to KPHO.
Catherine Anaya left KPHO and Kris Pickel took over.
Carey Pena left KTVK. Heather Moore is now in that chair.
KPHO’s ownership group bought KTVK and the combined forces now share one building.
Combine these changes with a deluge of young reporters who seem to come and go at warp speed and it’s hard to keep up. But what hasn’t changed is Fox 10. For those who have not been in the Phoenix market for long, KSAZ-Fox 10, was formerly KTSP, a CBS affiliate. That changed when Fox came to town in the early 1990’s. Back then, the faces of the station included John Hook, Rick D’Amico, Dave Muncey, Jude LaCava, Linda Williams, Ron Hoon and Steve Kraft. Guess what? After all this time, it still does. All of them still there, doing the same work (as a means of full disclosure, I also worked there for five years, but spent most of my reporting years at KPNX-TV).
Along with keeping their on-air teams relatively intact, the station was also one of the few to resist the MMJ (one man band) philosophy, a trend some stations nationwide have now gotten away from, after realizing the news product greatly suffered (shocking). So, has the consistency helped Fox 10? A quick scan of the ratings for the month of August 2015, shows Fox 10 tied with KTVK during morning hours for the top spot, and the station also at or near the top during evening hours, in the coveted 25-54 demo. While social media has eroded overall ratings for all TV news outlets, KSAZ has consistently been at or near the top of the ratings game for years.
I give them a lot of credit. Their crews seem happy when I run into them while on assignment. In this changing digital news world, it’s easy to toss out the old and bring in a younger, and albeit, more affordable staff. Fox 10 has resisted. It appears to have paid off.